Home 7 Line Extension To save a 7 station, an obvious redesign at 41st and 10th

To save a 7 station, an obvious redesign at 41st and 10th

by Benjamin Kabak

A few months ago, the planned 7 line station at 41st St. and 10th Ave. had been read its last rites. The city — picking up the tab for the entire $2.1 billion extension — did not want to pay the additional $500 million this station would cost, and although it would be a vital part to the future of the West Side, the MTA was no in position to fund it either. Today, though, Mayor Michael Bloomber, under pressure from the Real Estate Board of New York, announced a simple engineering solution that will keep the possibility of a station alive, the project on time and costs relatively under control.

As The Wall Street Journal’s Michael Howard Saul reports, Bloomberg said he believes that plans for a station sometime in the future can be built into the project. He is now requesting federal funds to confirm the initial engineering reports, and when money is flowing again, either the MTA or the city can begin to right this wrong. “We need engineers to confirm that it’s viable, but we’re confident we’ve found a way to keep the prospect of a future Tenth Avenue station alive without delaying the current extension,” Bloomberg said.

The city is now applying for $3 million in federal TIGER II grants that will confirm that a redesigned station could be built after the extension is completed and if sufficient funds become available. As Saul writes:

Under the new design proposal, the new station would be built with two entrances and two separate platforms – one for eastbound and one for westbound trains. The MTA prefers now to build subways where passengers can enter at any point, no matter what direction they’re headed. But officials said the compromise preserves the option of the second station, allowing it to be built at later date without interrupting service.

Basically, the original station schematics had called for an island station as the 7 line current enjoys at the other Manhattan stops. Instead, the MTA would design the stop at 41st and 10th so that the stations are on the outside of the tracks similar to, say, 50th St. along the 1 train. That way, construction on the station could proceed without disruption to the train line as is happening on the uptown tracks at Bleecker St. right now. The solution is so simple it’s astounding it had not been proposed before.

With this initial victory in its pocket, REBNY officials say they will continue to work to identify funding sources for the station. A real estate tax would easily generate the $550 million needed to build it, but I doubt the lobbying organization would readily embrace that idea. “We recognize that funding for the full project is a goal we will need to work on collaboratively in the months ahead. And be assured that REBNY will continue toward that objective,” Mary Ann Tighe, REBNY’s CEO and chairman, said. “But without this action, and without this redesign, there would not even be hope that a station could be built. Now the residents and businesses located in this area, and those still to come to the Far West Side, will know that a station is still possible.”

In thanking the politicians involved in this process, REBNY President Steve Spinola gave a nod toward the residents, many of whom do not actually want this station at 41st St. and 10th Ave. anyway. “This funding is an important first step in fulfilling the promise made to thousands of residents and businesses who moved to the Far West Side because they believed they would have convenient transportation built in the near future,” he said. “We owe it to the community to continue pushing for funding to make the station a reality.”

Without commenting on the sheer obviousness of the engineering solution, in its statement, the MTA stressed a commitment toward wrapping up construction by the end of 2013. “”The MTA is fully supportive of the Mayor’s proposal to seek federal funding to study the viability of building out a Tenth Avenue station in the future,” the authority said. “While neither the City or MTA can fund the station due to financial constraints, we should not preclude the possibility of a station in the future. We will continue to work together to complete the extension of the 7 line on time and on budget.”

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AlexB June 30, 2010 - 4:38 pm

So what’s the solution again? Is it two side platforms with two entrances each or two side platforms with one entrance each? Does this very deep station not have a mezzanine? Is it just the issue of entrances as to why an island platform is so much more expensive? I’m confused, but glad it could become a reality someday.

Marc Shepherd June 30, 2010 - 4:51 pm

It sounds like what they’re saying is that if you don’t build the station initially, adding an island platform and a mezzanine later is very difficult. Making a provision for two side platforms is easier. It won’t be an ideal solution, but it’s better than a design that forever closes off the possibility of the station being built at a reasonable cost.

Benjamin Kabak June 30, 2010 - 4:52 pm

Alex: I clarified in the post. The new design would be two side platforms with two entrances and no crossover. The current plans are for an island platform which is harder to build after the fact.

AlexB June 30, 2010 - 6:40 pm

Thanks. Much clearer. I guess with crossovers at Times Square and 34th St, it’s not really necessary here. They can always add the second entrance to each platform later if it becomes necessary.

Despite the fact that there has never (miraculously) been a situation where a fire or other disaster has separated someone from a station’s exit, I do think it generally makes a lot of sense to have two exits. There is a reason building codes everywhere call for it.

Scott E June 30, 2010 - 7:34 pm

I would think that this would be two entrances to each platform for that very reason of safety. Although, fitting two elevator headhouses at street level could pose a challenge, as I’m sure all new stations from this day forward need to be ADA accessible.

SEAN June 30, 2010 - 9:31 pm


Jerrold June 30, 2010 - 10:52 pm

This is very good news!
But, I just hope it “passes”.
The politicians frequently have a way of disappointing us in the end.

Scott E July 1, 2010 - 7:39 am

What exactly does this save, though. Is it just excavation at each end of the station because the tracks don’t have to gradually fan out to accommodate an island platform? The depth of the station doesn’t change, and if anything, the number of entrances must increase.

Aaron July 1, 2010 - 10:31 am

I was wondering that too – it does allow for construction of a station after the 34th St extension is open, but I don’t hear people talking about excavating out a shell even to fit the “new” design. But they are correct, I suspect, that this would more-or-less allow for a station to be constructed after the fact without massive disruptions. Disruptions, particularly around platform construction, but not massive ones.

Zev July 1, 2010 - 9:55 am

I’m very curious how much money this saves…can they apply this type of station to the second ave subway to make it cheaper and more attractive to build? I’m not saying do this for every stop, but maybe several of the minor ones that don’t transfer to other lines.

Alon Levy July 1, 2010 - 11:28 am

It doesn’t generally save money to build side platforms – the total amount of excavation is the same as or higher than with an island platform.

What they’re saying is different – it’s that for infill stations, side platforms are cheaper.

Scott E July 1, 2010 - 11:35 am

At this stage in the design of Second Ave, that would require a massive design change and setback in schedule.

Besides, 72nd St can’t be changed since passengers on the uptown Q (assuming the Q comes back this way) could very conceivably transfer to a downtown T. 96th St is a terminal, at least for Phase 1, so it’s conceivable that a train might arrive, discharge uptown passengers, pick up downtown passengers, and turn around on the same track (like the 7 in Times Square with its island platform). And 86th St is so deep that excavation for entrances would be wasteful if it didn’t serve both directions.

For future phases, it’s a possibility. And I still question the need for a mezzanine when there is a single island platform.

Alon Levy July 1, 2010 - 2:40 pm

Forget the “can” question. New subway systems usually build two-track lines with island platforms, unless for legacy reasons they like side platforms. And unless there are tail tracks at least a full train length long, the terminal has to be with an island platform.

Brandi July 2, 2010 - 4:34 pm

Well this is a step in the right direction. Hopefully they an at least find the money to make the shell so it can be built easily in the future. Surprised no one had thought of this before. Will there at least be a way to cross between the two sides at a mezzanine or will one have to go completely outside?

Andrew July 2, 2010 - 7:09 pm

What redesign? There’s no redesign here. It looks like Bloomberg is simply announcing that the line can be built without a station, and adding a station later will be a trivial task. How he’s determined that it will be a trivial task is left unstated. The engineering study hasn’t been started yet. And the article doesn’t even quote anyone from MTACC or NYCT who might understand the issues.

If only it were so simple. I can think of several problems with assuming that a station with side platforms can be installed here at a later date.

First: This station, if it is ever built, will be deep. There will be escalators. There will be elevators. There will be emergency egress concerns. There will almost certainly be a mezzanine.

Second: The line will be on a fairly steep grade down from Times Square to the new terminal. If the station site is on a steep grade, then it cannot safely accommodate a station. The line needs to be designed with a station-friendly profile NOW if a station is to ever be built here.

Third: The signal system needs to be designed with a station in mind as well. (This may be moot if OPTO is up and running by the time the station opens.)

Fourth: Installing a station later would require major construction adjacent to the tunnels that would presumably require substantial shutdowns of the line. Not the end of the world, but installing at least a basic station shell now would avoid the issue entirely.

A tale of two tunnel boring machines :: Second Ave. Sagas July 16, 2010 - 12:58 am

[…] the residents who would stand to benefit with a station at 10th Ave. and 41st St. Maybe REBNY can deliver for them after […]

Streetsblog New York City » What Should Replace the Sheridan? TIGER II Could Fund an Official Answer August 30, 2010 - 2:17 pm

[…] an intermodal facility on Rockaway Parkway, presumably at the Canarsie terminus of the L [PDF]. As reported in June, NYC DOT also requested funds to study the inclusion of a station at Tenth Avenue along the 7 line […]

What Should Replace the Sheridan? TIGER II Could Fund an Official Answer « NYC August 30, 2010 - 2:34 pm

[…] an intermodal facility on Rockaway Parkway, presumably at the Canarsie terminus of the L [PDF]. As reported in June, NYC DOT also requested funds to study the inclusion of a station at Tenth Avenue along the 7 line […]

Without a TIGER grant, 7 line supporters look to ARC funds :: Second Ave. Sagas November 11, 2010 - 11:46 am

[…] effort to save the 7 line extension‘s 41st St. and 10th Ave. station, the city in June applied for a $3 million TIGER II grant. With that money, the MTA would have studied the feasibility of building a non-island shell […]


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